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Sunday Catch-up #43

Hello and Happy Sunday! I went back to work this week and the dark nights are closing in. I don’t mind too much though as I had a great time at a fireworks display, started Pilates again after a month off and later today Ian and I are off to watch Josh Widdicombe and grab a spot of dinner.

This week I have been…

Making: better use of my time

Going: to watch Josh Widdicombe live (tonight!)

Wearing: black tights…my winter essential

Eating: a delicious steak dinner (with a side order of mac ‘n’ cheese!)

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Drinking: dessert wine with my salted caramel pudding

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Reading: the final draft of my essay…it’s done!

Watching: American Horror Story – we finished Narcos (amazing series!!!) and so far we’re not that convinced by AHS

Buying: some treats from Birchbox

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Planning: some healthy meals for the week ahead

Cooking: a delicious chorizo, cherry tomato and spinach omelette for my breakfast yesterday

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Baking: nothing so far but I plan on trying out a toffee apple crumble recipe later this week

Writing: blog posts

Favouriting: this amazing video from Lisa Eldridge about make-up through the ages

Working on: clearing out our spare bedroom

Trying to decide: what colour to paint my nails today

Wishing: the rain would stop

Enjoying: firework displays

Needing: more candles!

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Feeling: well rested after two lazy lie-ins this weekend

Giggling at: how much this guy needs his coffee in the morning!

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Latest Purchases #92 – A Birchbox Haul

I was looking to up my skincare routine now that the weather is getting colder and the heating is on. I suffer from quite dry skin in the winter so looked to the Birchbox website for a couple of new items to try out. Of course, my search for skincare soon led to other things and before I knew it, a large box had arrived on my doorstep full of goodies, followed by a second order using the free shopping points I had earned from the first one!

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First up, the two items I actually needed: moisturising cream.

I bought this jar of Aquaporin Plus by Bluemandarínes, a 24-hour hydrating cream. I always think a glass jar adds a little bit of luxury and this cream is rich yet sinks into the skin quickly and has a beautiful, delicate floral scent. I think this would work as a day or night cream.

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I also picked up a jar of Melting Moisturising Cream by Akane. Upon further reading, this brand uses the Akane red apple tree from Japan which has antioxidant properties and is perfect for normal to dehydrated skin. Whilst also quite a thick, rich cream, this has an almost matte finish which I think makes it perfect for use in the morning before makeup.

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On the few occasions that I wear my hair straight, I have been struggling with some fine, wispy pieces of hair that seem to want to curl up again so I was after some light hairspray that would hold these flyaway hairs down without a heavy, sticky feeling. Montibel·lo is a good haircare brand and I bought their Flexible Hold Finishing Spray. It sounds like exactly what I’m looking for and this huge bottle should last me a while!

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I really like the brand Weleda and their all-natural approach but I had a few hit and miss products from them this time. The one I loved was the Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash which smells amazing and is just a really lovely shower gel.

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I also picked up the Oat Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner which I’m just not a fan of. The shampoo was fine and I will use that up but the conditioner was so thick and heavy and it left my hair really matted and unmanageable.

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Finally, I earned enough points to splurge on a luxury product I just love. At £28 for a little 30ml bottle it isn’t cheap but the Make Up Base by RMK is amazing. This milky formula sinks into the skin so quickly and leaves you with a soft, flawless base. I use this base with glowy and matte foundations and it really helps them last. I first tried this as a sample through Birchbox and it was only when it ran out that I realised how much I love it and it has actually replaced my silicone-based primers like Benefit POREfesstional as it feels much kinder to my skin.

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Overall, a pretty successful haul and I’m hoping my skin thanks me for it! x

Beauty Review – October Birchbox

I thought I’d better get my Birchbox review for this month done before November rolls around!

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This month, I had the choice between the Stylist Guest Editor Box or the Back to Basics Box. I had a quick look at the contents of each and there was one product that swayed it for me…

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The Back to Basics Box contained a bottle of Seche Vite, my holy grail topcoat that I have only just run out of. I thought it would save me an online order plus postage to choose the box with a fresh bottle inside so I opted for this sleek navy Birchbox.

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As well as the bottle of Seche Vite, it contained several ‘beauty essentials’ for eyes, hair, teeth and face.

First up, a duo from the brand Beaver (snigger…)

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I received a moisturising shampoo and matching conditioner which my dyed hair is always in need of.

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Next, a tube of toothpaste from Regenerate. Not something I can get too excited about but useful nonetheless.

From Eyeko, I got the Fat Liquid Eyeliner in Black. Now, this is a brand that people have raved about ever since the Alexa Chung collaboration but I just don’t see the fuss with their eyeliners! I don’t find the black to be dark enough and the staying power on me is poor.

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I am always open to having my mind changed though so will give this eyeliner a go however on first impressions, it seems rather chunky to get that thin, cat-eye flick I like.

Last of all, a mini bottle of Bioderma. I usually use the pink one (for sensitive skin) but this is the Hydrabio H20 which claims to have more hydrating qualities for dull, dry skin. I don’t find a huge amount of difference between the two but both are lovely to use and great at removing make-up from the skin quickly.

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Overall, a pretty good box this month. I was going to buy another bottle of Seche Vite anyway so I’m glad that was included and the rest of the items are all interesting to trial.

Beauty Review – September Birchbox

It cheered me up no end to come home and find the latest offerings from Birchbox waiting for me in my front porch. I have recently had a bit of a sort through all of my beauty products and I really do think the Birchbox items are some of the best.

This month, you could choose your box design as they had special ‘Birthday Boxes’ to mark Birchbox’s five year anniversary of starting in the States. I wasn’t too fussed about which box I got, but this balloon design is very cool.

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A product from Benefit is always a good inclusion for me! This time, it was a mini stick of the POREfessional: License to Blot. I use the primer from this range so will be interested to see if this oil-blotting stick is as good. This claims to mattify shine after application for up to 6 hours. I don’t have very oily skin but on warm days, I could probably use this.

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Next, a ‘Beauty Wash’ from Beauty Protector. This is just a shower gel which smells pleasant enough but definitely isn’t something to get too excited about.

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I also received a lemon and sage-scented body butter from Bliss which sounds lovely. I’ve used a face wash from this brand before so look forward to trying one of their bestselling products.

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I haven’t heard of John Master Organics before but this bottle of their citrus and neroli detangler looks and smells great. I do suffer from knots and tangles (#curlyhairproblems) so this sounds like it will be great for me.

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Whilst on the subject of hair, the ‘Beauty Bonus’ this month was a Birchbrush, their version of the Tangle Teezer. Now, I don’t actually brush my hair so won’t get any use from this but I’m sure I can find a friend to pass this onto.

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Finally, I received a Cheeky Lip Pencil in the shade Humble Brag by the brand Laqa & Co. One of my all-time favourite lip colours is from this brand so I was really pleased to get another product to try out. This pencil is for lips and cheeks, although I can see myself using it predominantly on my lips. It is a creamy, dusky pink when applied and finishes to a creamy matte.

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Not a bad month for Birchbox although when I saw it was a big birthday edition, I did have high hopes for something a bit more special. I think my favourite products are the lip pencil and the detangler but (with the exception of the hairbrush) the rest will definitely be added to my stash! x

Sunday Catch-up #33

Whilst most have been bemoaning the rain this week, I have secretly quite liked it as I have been stuck inside essay writing…3 down, 1 more to go! We’ve also been dog-sitting Ruby Soho and I have loved taking her for her morning walk and watching her run through the fields, barking at imaginary dogs. Let’s not mention the fact that this was also the last week of the summer holidays and I have to go back to work next week.

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This week I have been…

Making: my bed every day and feeling like I’m getting into fresh sheets every night (I’m sure most other grown-ups do this as standard!)

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Going: to watch Bristol City play

Wearing: my hair in a centre-parting again

Eating: Sicilian sardine pasta

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Drinking: homemade sangria

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Reading: Pop Goes the Weasel (and it’s just as gripping as the first one!)

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Watching: Sons of Anarchy all day errrryday

Buying: a sneaky Birchbox order

Planning: my lessons for the next few weeks

Cooking: my smoked haddock chowder

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Baking: peanut butter and jelly bites

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Writing: on my blog daily again – I hope I can keep it up when I go back to work!

Favouriting: the new Autumn/ Winter fashion on ASOS

Working on: these damn essays

Trying to decide: what to get Ian for his birthday

Wishing: we could get a pet dog

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Enjoying: the rain

Needing: to start getting up earlier…10am lie-ins just won’t cut it anymore

Feeling: excited about starting a new term

Giggling at: how cosy this little one looked all wrapped up on the sofa!

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Beauty Review – August Birchbox

I have to admit that I only really opened this month’s Birchbox and had a play this week – I think I have just been having too much fun testing out all the goodies I bought in America recently!

After last month’s contents arriving in a make-up bag, we are back to a box this month and what a pretty one it is…

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Covered in little beauty emojis, there was also a pack of stickers of the same design inside.

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Here was my first look at the beauty items:

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First up a Rice Scrub from Rituals. I have been wanting to try something from this brand and love a good scrub. This one has organic rice milk and cherry blossom from it so sounds less harsh than a lot of exfoliators on the market.

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Next, a clarifying shampoo from Kebelo. Although I don’t use a huge amount of products on my hair, my Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo has found its way into my weekly ritual and I love the squeaky clean feeling it gives my hair. I’m keen to try out another brand’s version.

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I also received a pale grey Grab & Go Ponytail Holder from L. Erickson. Now, I would never pay almost £12 for a hair tie but this feels very soft and is meant to avoid snagging. I have to say it looks a little chunky for someone with quite short hair but always handy to have in my handbag.

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A Cleansing Water next from BioNike. I hadn’t heard of this brand before but like that this looks very delicate and soothing on the face. I always use these type of products to remove my make up so a welcome addition for me.

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Finally, two make-up items. I love The Balm Cosmetics, especially their retro packaging. I use their blushers so was pleased to see a bronzer. I know it’s only a sample but it isn’t the best size for a bronzer given that I like to apply mine with a very large, fluffy brush – I would have preferred another one of their lovely blushers but I found this also looks lovely as a golden-brown matte eyeshadow.

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I had another multi-use product from Lord and Berry in their blusher in the shade Lotus. When I opened the box, I was really disappointed in the cheap packaging. The colour looks nice and although isn’t the most pigmented, it is very silky to apply. I like that this can be used as a blusher or eyeshadow…I just need to find a better way to store it as I really dislike the plastic case!

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I’m not blown away by this month’s Birchbox and am probably the most excited about trying out the shampoo which isn’t exactly riveting. However, I have noticed there is a great sale on their website at the moment and I happen to have racked up a lot of points to spend so that’s practically free make-up! x

Beauty Review – July Birchbox

Hello and Happy Saturday! I am on my third load of pre-holiday laundry today and have spent the morning booking the final few travel bits and bobs ready for our American adventure on Monday (2 more sleeps!) – it has come around so quickly that it almost helps me forget that this time next week I will be 30!

I nearly missed reviewing this month’s Birchbox but have managed to find an hour or so before Ian’s parents arrive later this afternoon to squeeze in a quick blog post.

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Not so much a Birchbox this month but more of a Birchbag – I received my monthly goodies in this jazzy yellow plastic clutch. I actually quite like this, especially the little leather pouch inside. There were four colours of this bag and the yellow one is inspired by my home county of Somerset which feels quite fitting!

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Here was my first look in the bag (and as you can see, you can squeeze quite a bit of stuff inside it!)

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As expected, the July Birchbox has a holiday focus which is fine with me as we are going away and my travel make-up bag for the States consists mainly of Birchbox samples!

First up, Benefit Dream Screen. I have used this sunscreen before and am very happy with another tube. It has SPF 45 and is a matte finish to avoid the usual shine sunscreen can give – a very handy size to pop in my handbag.

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A tube of Unani Aloe Vera Body Treatment next. Useful as an after-sun product but not something to get overly excited about.

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I also received the Congested Skin Serum from Balance Me. I like this brand and look forward to using this.

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The whole Beauty Blender trend is still going strong and I got this sponge from Barely. I have to say I prefer applying my base with a brush rather than one of these sponges but this one seems to be a bit smaller and has a point on it which looks perfect for setting concealer around the eye area – I may need to give these another go.

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A handcream next from Cowshed. This smells amazing and is something I like to keep on my desk or bedside table for regular application.

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Finally, a make-up item from POP Beauty, a brand I haven’t heard of before. I received this mini trio of eyeshadows in Peach Parfait. They complement each other well and are the exact shades I love to wear. The lightest one is a bit too shimmery for me but the pink and bronze shade are ones I would use. I wish companies would just stop including the foam applicators now – does anyone use these anymore?!

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Overall not a bad monthly offering but not the most exciting either. I think my favourite items are the Benefit face cream and the Balance Me serum but I am looking forward to testing out the eyeshadows too.